Industry veteran Dave Kelly will join Richardson Wealth Ltd. on Jan. 15 as the company’s new chief operating officer.

Kelly, who was head of Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc. for nearly two years until this past fall, previously spent more than a decade with TD Wealth Private Wealth Management, including as senior vice-president and head of private wealth management and financial planning. He also spent 10 years with CIBC.

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In his new role, Kelly will focus on driving growth for Richardson Wealth, focusing on advisor support and working closely with Neil Bosch and James King. Both were recently named regional heads of advisor experience and growth after Mike Ankers stepped down from his executive role.

Kish Kapoor, CEO of RF Capital and Richardson Wealth, said Kelly’s experience is paramount: he has worked as an investment advisor all the way up to senior executive in wealth management. Kapoor noted that Kelly has built his own practice, coached entrepreneurs and focused on bottom line results.

The firm’s “extensive” COO search led to a shortlist of about 16, Kapoor said in an interview. Kelly ticked all the boxes, which included someone who understood the firm’s vision for the long term and wasn’t afraid of “short-term hiccups.”

Kelly’s move keeps him in the independent sphere after leaving TD Wealth in early 2022 for what he considered a more entrepreneurial role.

Last March, Onex Corp. signed an agreement to move Gluskin Sheff wealth management advisor teams to RBC Wealth Management Canada. Kelly left Gluskin Sheff in September.

Kelly told IE he’d spoken with “a lot” of firms and leaders in the past few months, and that Richardson Wealth has an “uncommon mindset around being advisor-centric.” While it’s an easy claim to make, he added, Richardson Wealth has invested a lot in its back office and portfolio management tools, displaying “a lot of courage” in its willingness to make and manage change.

“We made a deliberate effort to call the advisor our client,” Kapoor said, noting the firm is committed to in-depth support.

Kelly’s skills and decades of experience are valuable due to Richardson Wealth’s aim to triple its assets under administration to $100 billion. That target has been in place since 2021, a year of change for the company as it left behind a shareholder dispute and embraced its new name and growth strategy.

Richardson Wealth was managing $35.2 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2023, compared with the $30.3 billion reported as of Dec. 31, 2020 and $29.3 billion at the end of 2016. The firm employed 157 advisor teams as of Nov. 30, 2023, across 21 offices, compared with 162 advisor teams at the end of 2020 and 199 in 2016.

Reaching $100 billion is a medium- to long-term goal, and is “bold,” Kapoor said. “The journey is never a straight line.” He expects continued interruptions from markets, the economy and industry developments — and also from the organic growth, movement and consolidation of advisor teams.

Kelly will focus on helping advisors already at the firm, while Kapoor will turn to other priorities such as recruitment to boost numbers as well as “acquiring or partnering with like-minded firms,” according to a release. (Kapoor didn’t share specifics, but said there’s a list of firms and people they’re watching.)

Those goals were highlighted in May of last year when first-quarter earnings were released, several months after Richardson Wealth had started transitioning to Fidelity Clearing Canada’s back office. At that time, Kapoor said the company expected to derive 60% of its growth over the next three to five years from mergers and acquisitions, and 20% each from recruitment and providing additional support services to its existing advisors.

Those goals hold, Kapoor confirmed, noting M&A activity was expected for 2024 and beyond. “We feel like we’re on schedule,” he said, given the efforts to build the firm’s back office and platforms, and make growth scalable. 

Richardson Wealth also recently launched a $25-million internal financing program to help advisors purchase books. Several advisor teams have been using the resources.

Kelly will meet as many people as possible over the next 90 days and learn about the firm before choosing where “to go deep,” Kapoor said.

Other industry moves this week

  • Montreal-based Fiera Capital Corporation has a new head of its Canadian division. Maxime Ménard was appointed president and CEO of Fiera Canada, where he’ll oversee the firm’s Canadian and global private wealth activities. “His extensive knowledge and understanding of the asset management landscape will add to the strong executive team we already have in place and contribute to the firm’s success,” said Fiera chair and CEO Jean-Guy Desjardins, in a release. Ménard, who spent 20 years with Jarislowsky Fraser, most recently as president and CEO, cited Fiera’s ability to build diversified portfolios with public and private market strategies as a competitive advantage. Desjardins, who founded Fiera, stepped back into the top job almost a year ago, when the firm made several senior leadership changes. Ménard joins Desjardins and other senior leaders on Fiera Capital’s executive committee.
  • IG Wealth Management has expanded its leadership team as the firm looks to recruit advisors. Stéphane Dulude is IG’s new vice-president of business development for Quebec and the Atlantic, while Matt Andrews moves into the same role for Ontario. Dulude has more than 25 years of industry experience, including executive roles with PEAK Financial Group, SFL Wealth Management and Desjardins Financial Security Investments. He was a member of the Autorité des marchés financiers’ investment products advisory council for five years. Andrews spent more than 20 years with Manulife Securities, where he was most recently head of sales. Both will report to senior vice-president of business development Herp Lamba and focus on attracting experienced advisors with established practices, a release from IG said.
  • Real estate firm BGO has a new head of its Canadian business. The firm named Canadian chief investment officer Christina Iacoucci as head of Canada, where she’ll continue to lead the Canadian investment management business while also overseeing property management and leasing services. BGO is a part of SLC Management, the institutional alternatives and traditional asset management business of Sun Life.

-With files from Mark Burgess

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